Managing an Exchange Program in Laos

Katherine has just started a master’s degree program in Peace and Conflict Studies in Uppsala, Sweden. We spoke online. My thanks for the photos.

Katherine’s story

Why don’t you tell me how you happened to go to Laos, what happened, what worked out and what didn’t.

It wasn’t my goal to work and live in Asia. I did Peace and Conflict Studies as an undergraduate at American University in Washington, D.C. with courses focused on the Arabic language and Middle Eastern issues. I was preparing for work on peace-building, particularly with the relationships between the US and Israel/Palestine, Iraq/Afghanistan.

I … Read More

How to Get Engaged in Bali and Married in Thailand

The first of the posts about Amy’s life, “Two American Teachers in China, Part 2,” is basically positive (Link); the second, “Escape from China,” deals with some disappointments after her return from vacation and particularly with her flight from the toxic air pollution (Link). Now the third details the happy events which followed. I’d like to add that on my four trips to Thailand I found many people and places extraordinarily friendly and helpful. There were those who were out to gouge tourists, but they were easily avoided. 

 Amy and I spoke over Skype Read More

A French Girl in the Merchant Marine

Thanks to Audrey for the photos. At the end of the interview there’s a brief account with videos of the cable ship, Île de Sein, recovering the black boxes from the wreckage of Air France 447. The video provides a good look at the ship, the personnel on board and some of the equipment. Another video is a documentary about the plane crash in the middle of the Atlantic.

Audrey’s story

Becoming a sailor wasn’t an obvious choice for me. I grew up in Orleans, in north-central France, definitely inland, and I had no seafaring relatives. But I wanted contact … Read More

Five Years in Uganda

Last month I posted an interview with an Australian named John about his teaching experience in Taiwan and Japan. This month he talks about his years in Uganda with his wife Keiko, a Japanese pediatrician. 

To provide a good sense of place, I added links to Youtube videos featuring walks in Kampala, the capital city, and the Kiwoko Hospital. John sent the pictures of his wife and himself. We spoke via Skype while he was in Japan and I was in the Philippines.

John and Keiko’s story

Shortly after we were married, my wife said that before we got too … Read More

Teaching English in Taiwan and Japan

My first experience in language teaching was in 1966, when I taught German with the Audio-lingual Method of repetition drills, substitution drills and communication exercises—a close relative of the Direct Method or Berlitz Method—all conducted in the target language and reinforced in the language laboratory. It can be extremely effective with most beginning language learners, so that students can produce a few short sentences after the first hour of instruction.

John’s experience with language teaching includes classic novice mistakes followed by proper training, success, administrative duties and finally the frustration of apathy and “chalk and talk.”

John and I spoke Read More